Theatre to perform prestigious play

By Kelsey Kastrava
October 1, 2009

he Cabrini College theater is one out of 100 theatre programs worldwide that will be performing ‘The Laramie Project Epilogue’ simultaneously on Monday, Oct. 12 at 8 p.m.

Cabrini has been selected along with many prestigious, professional theater groups, as the show will be performed in places from the Lincoln Center in New York City to Hong Kong, to Grace Hall atrium on Cabrini’s campus.

Cabrini performed the original ‘Laramie Project’ two years ago and was asked by Leigh Fondakowski, one of the five writers of the show, to perform the debut of the epilogue.

‘The Laramie Project’ is a play that tells the story of a 21-year-old gay man named Matthew Shepard who was inhumanly beaten and tied to a fence where he was left to die in the fringes of Laramie, Wyoming. This malicious murder is known as one of modern day’s most vicious hate crimes.

The Tectonic Theater Project Company traveled to Wyoming where they interviewed many people from the Laramie community. From these interviews, the writers wrote a play out of the edited statements of the peoples’ stories. Moisés Kaufman, the writer of the original script, as well as the director, has initiated another approach to a new play.

He and his co-writers traveled back to Laramie where they again interviewed the community to see what has happened within the last 10 years. From the new evidence, the epilogue is a play that will discuss what life in Laramie has been like over a decade since the tragedy of Matthew Shepard.

The idea to have all 100 venues perform the show live at the same time has left Cabrini’s theater director, Dr. Thomas Stretton, a bit overwhelmed.

“Doing a show like this leaves one nervous,” Stretton said. “There is a lot of work that must be done, especially when the script is constantly changing.”

The first draft of the script was just recently given to the cast and alterations in the script will continue to be sent to all theaters performing the show.

In fact, cast members will not have the play memorized, but will be holding the scripts as they perform. The final draft will be sent no later than 48 hours before the curtain call.

Shannon Winters, senior education and English major, has been involved in six shows thus far at Cabrini and is also involved in the ‘Laramie Project Epilogue.’

“I was in the original ‘Laramie Project’ two years ago, so I was really excited to be a part of the epilogue,” Winters said. “This show opened my eyes to what can happen when people hate so strongly. This story has become a part of me and I’ve become an advocate for change in my own way.”

The cast of Cabrini students has hopes that the message of the show reaches people that are the age of Matthew Shepard when he was murdered.

“Kids I’ve talked to about the show have sounded either very excited or very skeptical,” Samuel Hallowell, freshman math major, said. “I hope that audiences around the world, especially at Cabrini, get a clearer understanding of what actually happened in Laramie that day.”

Cabrini’s presentation of the show will be free of admission. Following the worldwide performance, there will be a live question and answer conference via webcast where questions can be asked through social media.

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Kelsey Kastrava

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